Tesco needs to raise more than £5bn to fix its balance sheet and regain its investment grade credit rating, according to rating agency Moody’s.
Moody’s, which downgraded Tesco’s ratings to “junk” status in January, said its slump in profitability meant significant measures needed to be taken on its balance sheet to improve its creditworthiness. Sven Reinke, senior analyst at Moody’s, said: “It has a relatively high level of debt, also of adjusted debt, such as the pension deficit and operating leases. It is a relatively high-leveraged company. That was acceptable for an investment grade company until now because they had decent profit margins.” (The Telegraph, The Times (£), The Daily Mail)
Tesco and Wm Morrison have received the most complaints from suppliers in the grocery industry about their conduct, according to a Daily Telegraph analysis. The companies both received 18 complaints from suppliers relating to potential breaches of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP). This compares with just four for Marks & Spencer. (The Telegraph)
Trade union the TUC is calling on angry public and customers to help fight for exploited workers. Community campaigns and customer boycotts have been identified as effective way of defending rights of fast food and retail workers, according to the TUC’s general secretary Frances O’Grady. (The Guardian)
More than 80,000 shops face closure by 2017 unless the Government drastically overhauls the business rates tax system, the British Retail Consortium has warned in a comprehensive study of the controversial tax. The findings are based on retailers not renewing their leases on the 60% of high street stores that will see their rental agreement expire by 2017. (The Telegraph)
Patisserie Holdings, which floated on AIM last year, is planning a push into Ireland. The pastry goods retailer will open a store in Belfast in August or September in a former Jaeger fashion store on Donegall Square. A second Belfast site is due to open by the end of the year. (The Times £)
Fast-growing online retailer backed by Sir Terry Leahy and Lord Rose of Monewden, The Hut Group, made a donation to the Conservative party ahead of a pre-election visit to the company by David Cameron and George Osborne, the company’s annual accounts show. (The Times £)